Get to know Grand Rapids (and the world)

Monday was my second life-long learning class.

This is definitely a must do thing. Growing as a person is an essential thing in life and that means experiences and knowledge.

And I realized something, most of the people in my classes are in the 60s, 70s  and 80s, and have just started these programs.

It’s odd though, because through life, they end up just like toddlers and elementary-aged students.

They talk during class, and loudly; they’re unaware and inconsiderate of their surroundings.

Despite the distractions, I learned a massive amount today about Grand Rapids’ street car history, with the hilarious professor Carl Bajema.

A variety of types, horse drawn, cable and electric street cars graced the streets of Grand Rapids from the 1860s-1935.

It’s sad that they went away, because they could do a lot of good in the current Grand Rapids.

They would run from 7 a.m. til night for 5 cents a ride, but charge for baggage.

During rush hour, Campau Square in downtown Grand Rapids could see more than 100 street cars.

He spoke about the theme park at Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, prior to Ramona Park, Reeds Lake was a place people would go to do illegal things and get away from the cops.

Insanely enough, there were people in the glass who had rode the roller coaster and watched baseball games at Ramona Park! The last parts of the park closed in 1955.

I guess, more amazingly, is that in the 1920s, people from all over the world came to Grand Rapids to see how the street car system was set up.

The most interesting part of the class though is the professor, he made some jokes, and told others. 

He told us of a newspaper article which chronicled a train hitting a street car:

“Train hits streetcar, conductor and passengers more or less injured.”

And another newspaper gem:

“Cars are painted; look nice.” But no color.

There apparently is a long-standing joke about how the street cars were like bananas.

“They have two things in common; they’re yellow and run in bunches,” referring to the color and how they’re late.

Then he went on a ramble about how men don’t gossip, they commentate.

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